Frequently Asked Questions
What is a joint restriction?
A joint restriction is where a joint does not move freely within its normal range of movement. This can have a negative effect on your nervous system. The nervous system in your body controls and regulates every single cell in your body; hence interference to this important system has been proven to have a negative effect on health. Joint restrictions can be associated with various signs and symptoms including: pain, pins & needles, numbness, muscle weakness, poor flexibility, poor posture, sports injuries, repetitive strain injuries, disc problems and more.
Doctors of Chiropractic specialize in locating, analyzing, correcting, and preventing joint restrictions without the use of drugs or surgery.
What types of stressors cause joint restrictions?
The performance of our bodies is affected by the varying amounts of stress our lifestyle places on it daily. These stressors, over time, can affect its performance and create joint restrictions. If a body is no longer able to deal with stress in a proper manner it becomes susceptible to disease and injury. Stress can be broken down into three categories:
1. Physical stress
a) SMALL REPETITIVE TRAUMA (MICROTRAUMA)
For example, improper posture when sitting, standing, walking or sleeping, repetitive strain injuries or wear and tear due to congenital anomalies.
This is caused by trauma such as falls, slips, fractured bones, car accidents, etc. The trauma itself doesn’t need to be large and its affects can contribute to problems not only at the time it occurred, but also many years down the road.
2. Emotional stress
This is your mental wellbeing. It includes stress from all aspects of your life, (e.g. work and relationships) and your overall outlook on life. Emotional stress triggers responses in the autonomic nervous system, which influences the function of your body’s tissues. Over or under hormone production, muscle tension, organ dysfunction, posture changes are just some of the effects of emotional stress on the body.
3. Chemical stress
This is what you put into your body. Chemical stresses include pollution, poor diet, alcohol, smoking, drugs, medication and caffeine. Chemical stressors make your body work harder to maintain its equilibrium. These undue demands on the body reduce its reserve banks and leave the body more susceptible to fatigue, slow healing, or disease and injury.
Reducing the above stressors on the body reduces the prevalence of joint restrictions and gives the body the right environment to perform with optimal health and wellbeing.
What is an adjustment?
The chiropractor uses carefully directed and controlled pressure, using their hands, in a precise direction to a joint that is not moving properly in order to allow the body to begin the healing process.
How is an adjustment given?
There are many different types of adjustments. Some are quick, gentle movements, others are slow constant pressure, and some are assisted with special chiropractic equipment like the segmental drop adjusting table, the Activator, or the pelvic blocks. Treatment is varied for different conditions, the body type of the patient and chiropractor, and the preference of the patient whenever possible.
Is chiropractic safe?
Yes, all the evidence is that chiropractic is a safe and effective form of care when provided by a registered chiropractor. The approach to care that chiropractors take is recommended in the relevant European guidelines and the Department of Health’s Musculoskeletal Services Framework. Patients may experience some side effects after treatment such as feeling more uncomfortable, stiff or tired for a day or so but these affects are normally minor and do not last for very long.
It is important that you talk to your chiropractor if you have any questions during any part of your care.
What is the popping sound?
The sound is the same as a knuckle cracking. It indicates the joint has separated slightly and released normal fluids and gases in the joint. It is safe and helps reduce arthritis!
What is the Gonstead Technique?
The Gonstead system was developed in 1923 by the late Clarence S. Gonstead, DC. The system uses visual examination, motion and static palpation, instrumentation and full-spine X-rays to determine, with accuracy and precision, where, what, when and how to adjust to obtain specific and consistent results. The Gonstead system utilizes the full-spine approach with emphasis on joint restriction (historically referred to as subluxation/compensation mechanism) and the level disc concept. Heavy emphasis is placed on differentiating between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems and the symptoms related to each. This assists the chiropractor in the quest to find and correct the joint restriction specifically causing the presenting symptoms.
Will I need further tests?
Only if necessary. It depends on what the Doctor of Chiropractic finds after your consultation and examination. X-rays, MRI and laboratory tests are important diagnostic tools. It means chiropractors don’t have to guess or take chances.
How many Treatments will I need?
The amount of treatment needed is different for every patient. Age, lifestyle, general health, genetics, stress levels, prior injuries, amount of degeneration, the severity, nature and length of time the problem has been there must all be taken into consideration.
There are three phases of chiropractic treatment:
In the beginning you will need more frequent adjustments in order to mobilize your spine and improve spinal function; this usually results in symptom relief. These symptoms are generally the result of inflammation, muscle spasm or the irritation of pain fibres in joints, muscles and tendons. Frequent chiropractic adjustments and home care advice will help get you out of pain quicker and start the healing process.
Once the symptoms have reduced, work can begin on rehabilitating and strengthening the body in its new alignment. It takes an average of 6 weeks to achieve strong ligament, muscle and connective tissue support for this new alignment. Treatments in this phase will be further apart but you may have exercises, stretches and or other home advice to optimize your rehabilitation and reduce your change of a recurrence of your problem.
Maintaining optimal health can only be achieved through this type of treatment. As you are aware, the body is constantly under various stressors so the only way to ensure your body is in correct spinal alignment and achieving its optimal state of health is to have a regular chiropractic check-up before the onset of pain as you would for the healthy maintenance of your teeth and gums. Regular check-ups can mean every month or every 4-6 months. Research states that most people maintain the added benefit of improved immune function and internal body health when their check-ups are at least every 4 months.
However far you decide to take your treatment is always up to you. The chiropractor is there to provide the treatment and guide you through your care. Whichever phase you decide to take your care to, is ultimately up to you.
Do I need to contact my GP if I want to see a chiropractor?
No, you do not need to contact your GP before seeing a chiropractor. However, some private medical insurance companies require a GP referral before they will cover the cost of your treatment so please call them in advance and ask.
How do Insurance Claims work?
- Call your insurance company to check that you have cover to see a chiropractor.
- If you have cover, ask your insurance company for a claim number, your excess amount, and the limit of treatments allowed for seeing a chiropractor on your policy.
- Make a note of your claim number, and policy number.
- Visit your GP who will supply you with a referral letter to see a chiropractor.
- Call us on 020 8144 5231 to make an appointment to see one of our chiropractors.
- Bring your claim number, policy number and GP referral letter with you on your first visit with the chiropractor.
- Inform the chiropractor that you are an insurance patient and supply them with your documentation.
For most insurance claims, the chiropractor can claim payment from the insurance company on your behalf if you provide: a membership number, your claim number, a GP referral letter and a copy of your policy details. Please note however, our fees are higher for this service. Alternatively, if you pay for your treatment, on the day, our standard fees will apply and a receipt will be issued for you to claim on your own behalf.